Highly Electrocatalytic Activity of RuO2 Nanocrystals for Triiodide Reduction in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Authors

  • Yu Hou,

    1. Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • Zu Peng Chen,

    1. Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • Dong Wang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Centre for Computational Chemistry and Research Institute of Industrial Catalysis, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • Bo Zhang,

    1. Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
    2. Department of Physics, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • Shuang Yang,

    1. Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • Hai Feng Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Centre for Computational Chemistry and Research Institute of Industrial Catalysis, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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  • P. Hu,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Centre for Computational Chemistry and Research Institute of Industrial Catalysis, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
    2. School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, UK
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  • Hui Jun Zhao,

    1. Centre for Clean Environment and Energy, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
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  • Hua Gui Yang

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory for Ultrafine Materials of Ministry of Education, School of Materials Science and Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
    2. Centre for Clean Environment and Energy, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
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Abstract

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are promising alternatives to conventional silicon devices because of their simple fabrication procedure, low cost, and high efficiency. Platinum is generally used as a superior counter electrode (CE) material, but the disadvantages such as high cost and low abundance greatly restrict the large-scale application of DSCs. An efficient and sustainable way to overcome the limited supply of Pt is the development of high-efficiency Pt-free CE materials, which should possess both high electrical conductivity and superior electrocatalytic activity simultaneously. Herein, for the first time, a two-step strategy to synthesize ruthenium dioxide (RuO2) nanocrystals is reported, and it is shown that RuO2 catalysts exhibit promising electrocatalytic activity towards triiodide reduction, which results in comparable energy conversion efficiency to that of conventional Pt CEs. More importantly, by virtue of first-principles calculations, the catalytic mechanism of electrocatalysis for triiodide reduction on various CEs is investigated systematically and it is found that the electrochemical triiodide reduction reaction on RuO2 catalyst surfaces can be enhanced significantly, owing to the ideal combination of good electrocatalytic activity and high electrical conductivity.

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